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Snowshoes, one of the oldest forms of transportation around, are also one of the easiest to use. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. And since you decide how fast and how far you go, snowshoeing is great exercise for anyone who wants to get out and enjoy the quiet beauty of winter. It's also easy and relatively inexpensive to get started snowshoeing, since the only equipment necessary is a pair of snowshoes and appropriate footwear (although adjustable poles and waterproof gaiters are recommended).

Deciding which snowshoes to buy may not appear simple though due to the wide variety of models available. Read our top picks and tips below and to cut through the confusion and choose the right pair for you.

Types of Snowshoes

photo of a recreational snowshoe

Recreational Snowshoes

photo of a hiking snowshoe

Hiking Snowshoes

photo of a backcountry snowshoe

Backcountry Snowshoes

photo of a running snowshoe

Running Snowshoes

photo of a wooden snowshoe

Wooden Snowshoes

Top Picks

How we choose: The best snowshoes highlighted here were selected based on 1056 reviews of 110 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a snowshoe that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

Disclosure: Trailspace never accepts payment for gear reviews, product placement, or editorial coverage. When you buy through affiliate links on our site, Trailspace may earn a small commission, which helps cover the costs of running the site.

Top Hiking Snowshoe

MSR Lightning Trail

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

New for Fall 2022, this is an early look at MSR's Lightning Trail snowshoes updated with new Paraglide bindings. A rugged, but lightweight shoe meant for rolling terrain. Great for folks who won't be climbing mountains and now easier to get on and off your feet.

Reasons to Buy

  • New Paraglide bindings are super easy
  • Light on the feet
  • Good traction on crusty trails
  • Solid construction
  • Flexible deck

Reasons to Avoid

  • Heel traction bar location?

  New shoes, old snow MSR has been making great snowshoes for a long time, but that doesn't stop them from trying to make them better. In recent years they have changed the bindings on their Lightning Ascent and Revo Ascent models to use what they have named the new Paragon binding. Employing a flexible mesh panel that wraps about the front of the foot they reduced the number of strap connections to two. Now they have taken that same approach to create the Paraglide bindings which will be coming to the Lightning Trail, Revo Trail, and Evo Trail shoes for Fall of '22.

Read more: MSR Lightning Trail reviews (2)

Top Backcountry Snowshoe

Tubbs Flex ALP

user rating: 5 of 5 (3 reviews)

I will review my shoes, the 24 inch model, but my husband has the 28 inch version, and his review is the same as mine...we love these snowshoes! We have found them a nice step-up from our older Tubbs models (Adventure 25 and Eclipse 30), and have been excellent in our uses this year, on varying terrain and snow conditions.

Reasons to Buy

  • Heel lift
  • Flex deck
  • Binding system
  • Excellent traction

Reasons to Avoid

  • Sometimes a metallic clicking noise, especially on crust/hard pack

We snowshoe on sometimes steep and icy trails, and sometimes trails with unpacked or mushy snow. I have found the design and materials on these snowshoes to be excellent, and they have greatly increased my  confidence on tricky terrain,especially when traversing. The extended traction is wonderful,and an improvement from my old Tubbs, which had only toe crampons. The Flex Alps are light, and the binding system holds them securely...I have found no lateral "wiggle". The heel lift is also a feature new to us, and it seems like a nice advantage for some of our steep uphills.

Read more: Tubbs Flex ALP reviews (3)

Top Recreational Snowshoe

Tubbs Flex TRK

user rating: 4 of 5 (3 reviews)

I bought these this morning because after weeks of snow here in Boston they were the only snowshoes available at the local EMS store. I just went out for an hour and a half tromp in the woods. They passed the first test easily, which was whether I could secure my boots in the bindings. The adjustments both around the toes and on the strap that runs behind the heel were simple and straight-forward. The heel strap is made of some sort of rubberized material. You adjust it by stretching the strap over a metal prong.

Read more: Tubbs Flex TRK reviews (3)

Hiking Snowshoe

Tubbs Wilderness Series

user rating: 4 of 5 (7 reviews)

Impressive hiking/backcountry snowshoe from long-time maker of snowshoes, Tubbs. Great weight-to-size/flotation with easy on and off buckling mechanism. Heel lift for extended climbing and fairly aggressive traction make for an enjoyable day hiking the snow covered trails here in Colorado.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Good traction for up/down hills
  • Easy buckling mechanism for on/off entry
  • Flotation rating seems spot on
  • Heel lift for extended climbs
  • Platform material and construction appear durable

Reasons to Avoid

  • None so far, but I will update this post at the end of the season
  • Minimal perpendicular gripping at the heel area to lessen downhill slippage
  • No perpendicular crampon under the heel

I purchased these snowshoes in mid-January after it had been snowing quite a bit during December. But then it turned warm, unseasonably warm here in the Denver area with 50s-70s for the rest of January and early February. The place I had planned to christen them turned into a snow/mud trail so I kept waiting for the weather to turn back to winter.   Last weekend, a buddy of mine who is a volunteer with the U.S. Forest Service, and I met up to snowshoe the 5.5 mile out and back to Brainard Lake (northwest of Boulder).

Read more: Tubbs Wilderness Series reviews (7)

Recreational Snowshoe

MSR Evo Trail

user rating: 5 of 5 (3 reviews)

About the only thing that would hurt these snowshoes is throwing them in a fire! They're made of bomb-proof, injection molded, high impact plastic and can take more abuse than anything I've seen. Best for on-trail hiking but be forewarned — plastic is LOUD, especially on a packed trail.

Reasons to Buy

  • Reasonable price
  • Outstanding quality
  • Great traction on icy trails

Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavy
  • Loud
  • Have to take them off to attach tails

I like getting the cons out of the way first so I can go on and list all the really good stuff.  So, here you go... Con: These snowshoes are heavy. They're made of high impact, injection molded plastic, so once you put the shoe, the deck and the bindings all together, you're looking at over 3.5 pounds. Definitely not the lightest shoes out there... Con: Being made of plastic, they're also very loud on packed and icy trails — so loud in fact, it's difficult to hear your hiking partner over them.

Read more: MSR Evo Trail reviews (3)

Backcountry Snowshoe

MSR Lightning Ascent

user rating: 4 of 5 (25 reviews)

The MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoe is a very well designed go-anywhere snowshoe with a new Paragon binding design that lives up to its name. The Lightning Ascent's design has a number of aggressive features that really enable this snowshoe to be used confidently in the most challenging crusty and icy conditions. The new Paragon binding is simple to use and comfortable in use. This really is a great snowshoe option for someone looking for a durable design that can be used in any conditions.

Reasons to Buy

  • Simple binding adjustments
  • Very aggressive traction features
  • Not noisy like all-plastic deck models
  • Incorporates a heel support that can be operated with a trekking/ski pole
  • Tails are available for extra flotation
  • Paragon binding supports a wide range of footwear sizes
  • Spare binding parts are available and some are field replaceable
  • Designed by a manufacture that will be around to provide support well into the future

Reasons to Avoid

  • Decking material absorbs moisture

Overview The MSR Lightning Ascents are positioned as MSR’s top of the line snowshoe with a focus on being an ultralight aggressive design that can be used in challenging technical terrain. The latest version of the Lightning Ascent now comes with MSR’s new Paragon binding which MSR claims to offer greater comfort and foot control.  The MSR Lightning Ascent is actually one of three models of the MSR Lightning snowshoe designs and I provide a brief comparison of the three models at the end of this review.

Read more: MSR Lightning Ascent reviews (25)

Hiking Snowshoe

MSR Revo Ascent

user rating: 4 of 5 (3 reviews)

MSR has created a good all-around 'shoe which uses spans from a beginner to a serious snowshoer. Its flex, fit, grip, and heel lift bar create a solid product for those who want a tough, wide ranged product. This 'shoe works really well in a casual capacity, but is easily capable of handling hilly terrain or a serious excursion of a more dynamic trip. These shoes are an excellent choice for the novitiate who wants to grow to for the more experienced outdoor adventurer who needs a reliable, sturdy, all-terrain shoe.

Reasons to Buy

  • Really comfortable
  • Good flex
  • Good multi-use
  • Tough
  • Grippy
  • Effective heel lift bar (Televator)

Reasons to Avoid

  • Expensive for a casual user
  • Have to seat the boot sole squarely aligned in the four straps, or things can rub or ride wrong
  • Attending to four straps can feel time-consuming

MSR has struck a sweet spot in an effective, tough snowshoe that should suit a broad range of users. Per MSR's website: 22 IN Color: Purple Weight per pair: 3 lbs 14 oz / 1.76 k Width: 8 in / 20 cm Length: 22 in / 56 cm Binding type: PosiLock Televator: Yes Gait: Women's/narrow Footwear size range: 4.5 W - 14 W / 35.5 - 48 Load:Up to 180 lbs / Up to 80 kilos Load w/ tails: Up to 240 lbs / Up to 109 kilos Country of Origin: Made in the USA of US and Imported Parts Ease of Use: MSR employs a four rubber strap designs that makes the snowshoe “one” with the wearer’s boot.  I was amazed and impressed that no matter how hard I pushed the 'shoes uphilling, downhilling, sidehilling, or walking on completely uneven terrain, the shoeshoes never...

Read more: MSR Revo Ascent reviews (3)

Backcountry Snowshoe

MSR Evo Ascent

user rating: 4 of 5 (5 reviews)

Indestructible white plastic snowshoes that have good gripping and are easy to put on with mittens and are great for off-trail use.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lighter than most snowshoes
  • Very rugged
  • Extendable — separate tails can be added for heavy loads

Reasons to Avoid

  • Older models have not-so-easy-to-attach bindings

Easy to put on and take off without taking off your mittens. These are the best snowshoes for off trail use — map and compass stuff — work well in the forest. These MSR EVO ASCENT snowshoes have three binding straps and televators. The trail EVO models have two binding straps and no televators. Great for beginning but not good for large steep hills and mountains. Used these over the years in the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) in N.H. and once over a blizzard weekend on a winter backpacking trip on the Long Trail in Vermont.

Read more: MSR Evo Ascent reviews (5)

Top Snowshoe Accessory

MSR Lightning Tails

user rating: 4 of 5 (2 reviews)

An ingenious way to increase your snowshoes' carrying capacity or flotation. They're lightweight, easy to carry on or in your pack, and can be attached and removed quickly without removing your snowshoes.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Effective
  • Lifetime warranty

Reasons to Avoid

  • Only available in black.

The MSR Lightning Tails are a great way to basically have two pairs of snowshoes. You can buy a smaller pair of snowshoes for better maneuverability and attach the tails when you need better flotation or are carrying a heavier load. They attach very securely and use your own weight to stay attached. With the tails attached my Lightnings are 35" long, with slightly less flotation than a 35" or 36" tube-framed snowshoe that's generally an inch or two wider. As I mentioned in my MSR Lightning Ascent 30 review, they do cause the rear of the snowshoes to float better than the front, which is definitely noticeable, but not a deal breaker.

Read more: MSR Lightning Tails reviews (2)

Backcountry Snowshoe

Tubbs Flex VRT

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Tubbs Flex VRT are Tubbs' flagship snowshoe for exploring the backcountry. The BOA lacing system, aggressive crampon, and televator bar makes them ideal for long icy climbs on snow/ice covered trails.

Reasons to Buy

  • BOA lacing system easy with gloves
  • Aggressive crampons plus televator bar for easy backcountry climbing

Reasons to Avoid

  • BOA system can pinch
  • Not a huge deck for excessive powder

The Tubbs Flex VRT are excellent snowshoes for exploring snowy and icy backcountry. They have the BOA lacing system for easy donning even with winter gloves. The aggressive crampons and televator bar make them great for climbing icy trails. The smaller decks mean you sink a bit more if you're doing strictly off-trail in excessive powder. I am 250 pounds with equipment and love hiking in these on and off trail in the snow in the 29-inch version. My wife has the 25-inch women's version and loves them because of the easy donning and ability to climb. One friend felt that the lacing system pinched the top of their foot compared to other strap configurations, but we never had this issue. 

Read more: Tubbs Flex VRT review (1)

More Snowshoes

Trailspace reviewers have shared 1056 reviews of 110 different snowshoes. Narrow your search and view more specific snowshoe recommendations in these categories:

Recreational Snowshoes

Hiking Snowshoes

Backcountry Snowshoes

Running Snowshoes

Wooden Snowshoes

All Winter Gear

How to Choose Snowshoes

What Type of Snowshoes?

First, choose the type of snowshoes based on what level of activity and type of terrain you'll be tackling most of the time. Do you plan on walking around the local park or bagging backcountry peaks? Do you want to run on trails for winter fitness or bushwhack through densely wooded forests? Most snowshoes will work in a variety of snow conditions, so you won't be limited to only one activity, but different snowshoes work best in different conditions. Choose based on your predominant activity.

What Size Snowshoes?

Snowshoes come in a variety of sizes and lengths. The larger a snowshoe's dimensions (length and width), the greater the amount of surface area underfoot, which is the key to not sinking into the snow. The more surface area your snowshoes have, the more flotation you have.

Manufacturers offer some models of snowshoes in several different lengths. What size snowshoes you choose depends on a combination of two factors—your weight and the snow conditions.

If in doubt, choose the smallest model that will support you and your gear in the type of snow you'll typically meet. Smaller models have less flotation than larger ones, but are lighter and more maneuverable for hiking through trees or running. Some snowshoes also offer removable tails for added flotation when you need it, giving you more flexibility.

Snowshoe Features

Once you've narrowed your choices down to what type and size of snowshoe you'll need, consider the components and features on different models and decide which you need or prefer.

Next Steps

Want to try snowshoes before you buy? Consider taking advantage of local snowshoe demo opportunities, such as Winter Trails Day, an annual January event that offers children and adults new to snow sports the chance to try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing for free.

Ready to choose a pair? check out Trailspace's snowshoe users' top picks and soon you'll be strapping on snowshoes at the first sight of fresh snow.

Other Types of Winter Gear

Find more winter gear reviewed in these related categories:

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Alpine Touring Gear

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+7 more types

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